A number of lines in the robustly applauded speech delivered by Melania Trump at the Republican national convention on Monday night appear to have been lifted verbatim from a speech Michelle Obama delivered at the 2008 Democratic convention.
Journalist Jarrett Hill was among the first to point out that lines Donald Trump’s wife spoke about the necessity of hard work and strong family values seemed familiar.
“Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values, that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do,” Obama told the gathering of Democrats in 2008.
“And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children – and all children in this nation – to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Mrs Trump told GOP delegates on Monday: “From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise.
“That you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow, because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
The Trump campaign later sent out a statement on the speech, though it did not directly answer accusations of plagiarism.
A campaign source suggested to the Guardian that the blame lay with Rick Gates, a longtime aide to top Trump strategist Paul Manafort. The source said Gates signed off on the speech and edited it.
Manafort is a veteran Republican operative with connections to a number of foreign regimes including that of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. The strategist, who joined the Trump campaign in March to advise on a potential delegate fight, soon gained control of the entire campaign and edged out campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Manafort took advantage of both his decades of experience as well as the fact that he refused to accept a salary from Trump as he moved into the presumptive nominee’s orbit. A veteran of campaigns going back to Gerald Ford’s 1976 re-election effort, Manafort moved to hire longtime advisers and associates like Gates.
Jon Favreau, a White House speechwriter for the Obama administration, pointed out that Michelle Obama’s writer used to work for Hillary Clinton: